Let the Republicans Filibuster All They Want

The New York Times has an interesting opinion piece today by David E RePass. RePass is an Emeritus Professor of Political Science at the University of Connecticut.

RePass’s opinion piece is entitled “Make my Filibuster” and his thesis is simple. Republicans have been repeatedly threatening to filibuster legislation essentially giving a minority veto power to 40 Senators. Yet actual filibusters he says are extremely rare. He says this threat of a filibuster is preventing government from functioning effectively and is really more appropriately called a “phantom filibuster.”

RePass notes that:

“The phantom filibuster is clearly unconstitutional. The founders required a supermajority in only five situations: veto overrides and votes on treaties, constitutional amendments, convictions of impeached officials and expulsions of members of the House or Senate. The Constitution certainly does not call for a supermajority before debate on any controversial measure can begin.

And fixing the problem would not require any change in Senate rules. The phantom filibuster could be done away with overnight by the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid. All he needs to do is call the minority’s bluff by bringing a challenged measure to the floor and letting the debate begin.”

I strongly agree with DePass. He suggests that the Democrats would be politically astute if they called the Republicans bluff. Obama is enjoying much public good will, having inherited a disaster of an economy from the Republicans. The Republican mind set of a free market economy and little or no regulation and oversight brought on this current economic nightmare.

Voters clearly said it’s time to change and Republicans still don’t get it. Their answer to the problems is to continue the tried and failed Republican free market economy approach, rather than admit that they failed and brought us this mess. It is a Republican mess and if they want to filibuster Obama’s proposals to try to fix the problem, let them go ahead.

Let them get on the Senate floor and oppose health care legislation and green jobs legislation and regulation for the financial industry and unemployment compensation for the unemployed and mortgage reform and help for homeowners losing their jobs and solutions to deal with climate change. That’s what they’ve been doing for years.

But the public mood has changed. If they didn’t get the message from last November’s election of Obama and the loss of formerly Republican seats in the House and Senate, let them see how Americans feel about their trying to stop Congress and the President from working and doing their job by proposing and passing needed solutions to our current problems.

Americans are tried of naysayers and want our problems solved. Republicans botched the economy and Americans want them to get out of the way and let the President and Congress work to clean up the mess they created. They’ll soon learn that the filibuster approach to solving problems is not one that going to earn them more votes in the next election. It’s time for Reid and the Democrats in the US Senate to call the Republicans bluff on filibustering and move on to working out urgently needed solutions to our pressing problems.

One response to “Let the Republicans Filibuster All They Want

  1. -Political Blame Games-

    Some people want to blame the economy on the administration of the past 8yrs but that’s a fundamentally incorrect viewpoint. If people did some actual homework they’d learn that the root of this problem was spread through the yrs of Regan (too much deregulation), Clinton (requiring mrtg lending to non-credit worthy borrowers), and Bush (allowing excessive leverage). Obviously, financial companies and consumers played a key part of the problem as well (plenty of blame to go around). In actuality, a given President has less impact than the House/Senate in causing these problems but most people will always give credit (or assign blame) to the most recent President they’ve had.

    IMO, it’s really unfortunate that we have political parties at all. We’d be better off if we had no specific parties. That way we could get past all the preconceived notions associated with being labeled a “democrat” or “republican” and just let people concentrate on “the issues” rather than the tiring and old “partisan politics”…

    It’s amazing that some people actually believe that if someone’s a republican or democrat they will obviously perform exactly like all other R/D’s. One of the big reasons votes seem to be “aligned” on one side or the other is due to the political bartering going on behind the scenes that sways the vote of weak politicians who base their votes on political favors or re-election concerns rather than what they truly believe in. You have to realize that plenty of politicians feel equally split between many of the issues that “traditionally” define people as liberal or conservative. Unfortunately, those people are forced to “pick” (R) or (D) because they’d lose if they ran as an independent… I’d hope that a filibuster would be attempted “whenever” appropriate (regardless of political affiliation).

    As far as the “majority rules” concept: That’s being really oversold. Seriously, trying to say that one vote justifies all future decisions is really a weak argument. We need actual compromising legislation and so far the Pelosi led congress is doing anything but be bipartisan. Even my Father-in-law hates Pelosi and he’s one of those people I referred to who will only vote for someone if they’re in his party (democrat in his case). The majority rules idea also fails to support having elected officials in the first place. Why? Because if that were the case we could just post all the legislation online and have secure internet votes with the concept of “the majority rules”.

    Sure, your elected official should agree with your viewpoints most of the time but there are times when they should go against the wishes of their constituents because those constituents don’t understand the topic and are basing their support on “gut feelings” more than facts. The first bailout is a perfect example. I’m not talking about the way it was executed, I’m talking about what it was “supposed to be for” at the time it was being discussed and voted on. Most Americans were against it purely because of their visceral response to what they perceived to be going on. The problem was that the issues were complex enough that the typical “avg Joe” didn’t understand the economic interconnections of “wall street” and “main street”. Actually, many congressmen don’t even understand those interconnections. In reality, most politicians are just “avg Joes” who’ve been elected to make politics their main job. Part of that job includes being more familiar with legislation than the typical avg Joe who’s too busy with their normal lives to keep up with all the legislation being voted on. A leader is someone who can vote “against” the majority when necessary. A puppet just does whatever the majority of their constituents want (even if it’s not the right decision). “Majority rules” is a concept that supports puppets. We need fewer puppets and more leaders who, when necessary, can make the tough decisions…

    BTW, I’m an independent who used to be a registered democrat (a conservative democrat, but democrat nonetheless). However, the likes of many (like Pelosi, among others) has compelled me to switch to I. Many other D’s that I know have done the same but, unfortunately, the publicity machines of both the R & D parties have brainwashed most Americans to believe that a candidates with an "I" behind their names are somehow less credible or worthy of votes than ones with a D or R. It’s ridiculous and sad…